Weekly roundup January 19 – 25


Authoritarian Leaders and Agenda Setting Pedestrian Observations

Why I Will Vote ‘No’ in the UBC Endowment Referendum

The heretical lesson behind the latest RCMP shooting: jail doesn’t work National Post


Weekly roundup January 12 – 18


In praise of our underrated food courts Toronto Star

The Warthog Lives! The Weekly Standard

Renaming the Lady Byng after Jean Béliveau would miss the point Maclean’s


Weekly roundup January 5 – 11


Netflix cracks down (cough, cough) The Globe and Mail

Western Standard — What were we thinking? Western Standard
^ From 2006 when the Western Standard printed the Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Cellphones Do Not Give You Brain Cancer FiveThirtyEight

The CBC offers winter tips to Canadians who haven’t figured out how to wear a coat yet National Post

The Beer Store can’t stop treating us with contempt Ottawa Citizen



311 Toronto Reporting Issue

Today, I tried to report some garbage bags left at a street corner. I did not take a photo when I passed the bags this morning nor when I passed again this evening because it was quite cold. I usually do take a photo and attach it when I tweet to 311 Toronto.

But instead of the usual response of “We have notified Waste Enforcement”, I got the above response. And further:

I understand the objective of the policy, but I fail to see why me alerting them to garbage being left on the street requires them to collect my information. What they do with the information I give them is up to them.

I am saying “the city is less nice than it should be and you might want to look into it” while the city is telling me that we can only accept your heads up if we know who you are and why you would tell us about this issue. Ultimately, I am disappointed in the response from 311. It is cold today and so when I tried to call 311 to make the complaint after the twitter exchange it was going to be a long wait and I gave up. It is not worth my additional time to fix a problem that the city does not seem to think is important.

In a couple of days maybe it will snow and we can all forget about the garbage bags on the corner until spring just like we do with all the cigarette butts, paper coffee cups and dog poo.

For reference, here are all the waste related complaints I have made to the city using twitter with their responses:

These do not include the other random junk that has been left at Avenue and Dupont since the summer, including pails from roofing the adjacent construction site, many lamps (why are there so many lamps?), and yard waste (why lug these to the corner when the city will pick as many as you want at your house?).

Weekly roundup December 29 – January 4


Game of Thrones: How airlines woo the one per cent The New Yorker

Prescribed fires returning the Sawback to its historic state Calgary Herald

Scott Feschuk’s hottest, most inexplicable tech trends of 2015 Maclean’s

Team Canada’s road to world junior gold seems clear Toronto Star



Transit Use 2014

I kept track of all the times I used transit in 2014. This only includes transit on the TTC, which is most of all my transit use. I took 206 rides this year. These are counted in the way the TTC would charge for rides, so when I have a day pass a “ride” is counted whenever I would need to deposit a token or tap my Presto card.

My rides were paid for using: Day Passes (92), Tokens (70), Presto (33), and borrowed passes (11). The Day Pass rides were generally quite cheap because the passes were used on weekends and shared with Heather.

Unsurprisingly, I used the TTC most on Saturdays when Day Passes can be shared. I walk to/from work every day so only use the TTC when I have to go somewhere outside my acceptable walking distance. I am not sure what acceptable walking distance is as it changes depending on the day/weather/time.

2014 Transit use by day of week

Splitting my day of week walking out for each months is not all that interesting except to note that I only took transit on Saturday in June.

2014 transit Day of Week use by month

Total rides each month do not tell me much except that I was out a lot in September (a many birthday month), and went to many Christmas parties in November/December.
2014 Monthly Transit Usage

Weekly roundup December 22 – 28


Doug Saunders has written a dreadful column about the “resource curse”, and I’m going to explain why it’s dreadful Worthwhile Canadian Initiative

A small resolution for Toronto in 2015 Metro

How The Beer Store lobby wins friends and influences politicians Toronto Star

The Ice Breaker The New Yorker


^ I would love this as a tshirt